July 30, 2014

My ballot in the BBA year-end awards

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, one of my yearly duties is to participate in voting on the National League Awards. Below please find my ballot for this year. The awards will be announced by the BBA the week of Oct. 15.October 15: Connie Mack Award (manager of the year): Davey Johnson, WAS. This one’s pretty easy. Most pundits — including myself — had the Nats competitive this year and challengers next. But under Johnson’s experienced and steady hand, there’s playoff baseball in Washington this season for the first time since 1933. Despite injuries to Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Jayson Werth and Drew Storen — and the shutdown of Stephen Strasburg — the Nats have been at the top of the division and N.L. standings since mid-April and never relented.

October 16: Willie Mays Award (rookie of the year): Bryce Harper, WAS. Harper has simply done things unheard of for the typical rookie, let alone one that can’t legally drink. He’s second all-time in home runs by a teenager, and nearly accomplished a 20/20 season at age 19. All while learning to play center field on the job. It’s easy to forget this kid — and that’s exactly what he is — was a junior college catcher less than two seasons ago.

October 17: Goose Gossage Award (top reliever): Craig Kimbrel, ATL. Tied for the league lead in saves and virtually unhittable this season. 1.01 ERA, 0.654 WHIP, 3.9 H/9, 2.0 BB/9, 16.7 K/9. Game over, man.

October 18: Walter Johnson Award (top starter): Gio Gonzalez, WAS. Hate to look like a homer, but have to vote the hometown ticket here too. You can’t go wrong with R.A. Dickey or Johnny Cueto either, but I’m going to stick with Gio. The Nats dealt half of their farm system to get him, and I was as critical as anyone after the transaction. But he cut his walks way down, increased his strikeouts, led the league in wins (a mostly arcane stat, though it shows he pitched well and deep — and for a good ballclub) and became a much more consistent starter than earlier in his career.

October 19: Stan Musial Award (MVP): Buster Posey, SFG. This one was the toughest to decide on. I’m usually a stat guy, but I found myself going back to which player felt like the most valuable player to his team. No insult to Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun, Yadier Molina or Chase Headley, but that guy to me felt like Posey. But the stats back it up too: He led the league in WAR, offensive WAR, OPS+, hit .336/.408/.549 with 39 doubles, 24 homers and 103 RBIs and was a captain on defense at the hardest position on the field. Posey’s my guy this year.

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Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Nats and the Caps, and previously wrote Nats News Network and Caps News Network. Dave’s first sports hero was Bobby Dandridge. Follow Dave’s Nationals coverage on Twitter @NationalsDSP.

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